An illustration showing the execution by guillotine of King Louis XVI during the French Revolution.
An illustration showing the execution by guillotine of King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Anthony Baggett

Strange Politics: Botch-jobs could see political heads roll

IT HAS been a dreadful couple of centuries for the Guillotinists' Guild, its genetically inherited membership resorting to such menial vocations as government accountancy and back-of-butcher salami slicing to sate their innate yen for cutting stuff.

No longer. An unprecedented spate of political botch-jobs in Australia has finally given would-be neck-severers such as Queanbeyan sawmill worker Frank Sanson hope of a guillotining renaissance.

One key message followed the most recent flurry of fumbles out of Canberra, and it came as sweet music to emigrant executioners' kinfolk who now call Australia home: Heads Will Roll (sung to the tune of French national anthem, La Marseillaise).

Most notable, of course, was the 2016 Census shemozzle which cost $10 million and discovered Australia was inhabited by 658 people and Nick Xenophon.

One can almost hear the shink of leather strops whetting and honing illusory blades in Parliament House's dank dungeons.

An "angry" and "bitterly disappointed" Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has his sights set on both the Australian Bureau of Statistics and computer giant IBM, which was in charge of running the eCensus website.

While there must be some paralysingly itchy necks in the ABS offices, the organisation's chief statistician David Kalisch cannot get the chop at the PM's demand alone.

His $700,000-a-year job is secure unless a vote of parliament drops the axe, which would require Labor's co-operation - unlikely considering Bill Shorten has already baptised Mr Turnbull a "bungler in the first order" and would dearly like his political rival to be the one with his head in the stocks.

Then came the Committee for Economic Development of Australia meeting in Melbourne, where protesters posing as journalists leapt from their seats, rushing the stage while Mr Turnbull made his economic address, screaming at him to "For f***'s sake, close the camps".

"Malcolm Turnbull, shame on you!" they yelped, running around the building unhindered for minutes until finally being guided by their arms away from the action.

"Shut down Manus and Nauru!"

It was an anger not seen at a Turnbull event since he turned up after midnight on election night, seemingly with a few shandies under his belt, to deliver his not-so-gracious victory speech to the six drunken Liberals who attended and a steaming pack of tired journalists.

Despite the women's later protestations they were victims of assault, it seemed like astonishingly poor and soft-handed security. The Prime Minister's Office has demanded an explanation from CEDA and an incident report from the police. Shink, shink, shink.

All of this comes as fantastic news to Frank Sanson, sucking down a pungent White Ox rollie with his head buried in a newspaper during smoko break at the lumber yard. Since a child he has listened to tales of his ancestors, albeit with the likely embellishment of a generational game of wistful Chinese whispers, glorifying the golden days of state-sanctioned decapitation.

His mind wanders to forebear Charles-Henri Sanson, the Royal Executioner of France during King Louis XVI's reign and the ousted sovereign's eventual killer during the First French Republic. "Vive la revolution," Frank mutters, flicking a scorched stub at the wall.

Strange Politics is a satirical column. Follow Chris Calcino on Twitter: @ChrisCalcino


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